How can the city of Decatur further assist its citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic? - Resources for Decatur citizens
PLEASE CONSIDER COMPLETING THE CITY OF DECATUR SURVEY (https://bit.ly/DecaturCOVIDsurvey)
It would be helpful to know what challenges Decatur residents may be having and how the city may be able to assist residents during this difficult time.
DON’T HESITATE TO REACH OUT AND SEEK ASSISTANCE. BELOW ARE COVID-19 RESOURCES FOR DECATUR CITIZENS
Below is a list of resources including addressing immediate health, food, and housing needs; mental health resources; ways to help those in need; resources for seniors, veterans, and those who have lost their jobs; and more.
ADDRESSING IMMEDIATE HEALTH, FOOD AND HOUSING CONCERNS
For COVID-19 screening, Decatur Memorial Hospital’s respiratory care line is 217-876-1200, HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital’s COVID-19 hotline is 217-464-2966, and Crossing Healthcare can be reached at 217-877-9117
For those who need assistance with food, childcare, paying bills, or other essential services, one can also call 211 or 888-865-9903. Dialing 211 is a free, confidential community resource available anytime.
If one has immediate housing needs, please contact Homeward Bound at 217-706-6614.
The state of Illinois launched a “Call4Calm” Program. Text keywords such as “Food”, “Shelter”, and “Unemployment” to 552020 for free information.
The Macon County Crisis Communications Team provides daily information for what to do if one is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and how to reduce the spread of COVID-19 including social distancing. Please refer to their daily Joint COVID-19 Press Releases (https://www.maconcountyhealth.org/covid19/).
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
Heritage Behavioral Health Center have crisis workers available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can be reached by calling 217-362-6262 and dialing 1 for a crisis worker (https://www.heritagenet.org/).
Memorial Behavioral Health is operating a hotline from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM daily for those experience stress and anxiety associated with the pandemic. The hotline phone number is 217-588-5509.
The Illinois Department of Human Services has created a free and anonymous resource, Call4Calm, for individuals experiencing stress from COVID-19. Text “TALK” to 552020. Individuals will receive a call from a counselor from one of 62 community mental health centers.
To access the Crisis Text Line, Text: HOME to 741741. Veterans can call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, TEXT: 838255, or chat at VeteransCrisisLine.net.
Tips for social distancing and isolation have been prepared by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (https://afsp.org/taking-care-of-your-mental-health-in-the-face-of-uncertainty/?mc_cid=87f848e5b2&mc_eid=e93b0c0e8f).
The CDC has created a website for managing stress and anxiety (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fabout%2Fcoping.html&mc_cid=87f848e5b2&mc_eid=e93b0c0e8f).
Information on maintaining mental health during uncertain times is provided by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (https://afsp.org/taking-care-of-your-mental-health-in-the-face-of-uncertainty/?mc_cid=87f848e5b2&mc_eid=e93b0c0e8f, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255).
Other important resources include the National Alliance on Mental Health (https://nami.org/About-NAMI/NAMI-News/2020/NAMI-Updates-on-the-Coronavirus), Mental Health America (https://mhanational.org/covid19?mc_cid=87f848e5b2&mc_eid=e93b0c0e8f), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (https://www.samhsa.gov/coronavirus).
HELPING THOSE IN NEED
The American Red Cross is in urgent need of individuals to donate blood. For an appointment, call 1-800-733-2767 or visit https://RedCrossBlood.org. Blood drives are taking place on Tuesdays from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM at 2674 N. Main St.
Many organizations need volunteers to assist including Good Samaritan Inn (https://www.goodsamaritaninn.org/, 217-429-1455) and Northeast Community Fund (https://www.northeastcommunityfund.org/, 217-429-5846). Catholic Charities Food Pantry needs volunteers to pack food boxes (217-428-6772).
Decatur Memorial Hospital is accepting donations of medical supplies and homemade masks. Donations will be accepted Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM.
To support local businesses, you can purchase gift cards. A list of many Decatur businesses selling gift cards has been compiled (https://localbusiness.lee.net/herald-and-review).
To support restaurants during this time, a guide to restaurants offering delivery, curbside, and drive-thru services has been created (https://www.decaturchamber.com/city-of-decatur-restaurant-status-guide/?fl_builder).
The Community Foundation of Macon County has created an Emergency Response Fund (https://www.maconcountygives.org/macon-county-emergency-response-fund).
RESOURCES FOR SENIORS AND VETERANS
The Decatur-Macon County Senior Center has an RUOK program for seniors. The senior center will call homebound individuals in Decatur and Macon County over the age of 55 Monday – Friday to check on their well-being. To sign-up for this free service, please call 217-429-1239.
A list of stores that have special hours for shopping by those at most risk to COVID-19 was compiled by the Herald & Review (https://herald-review.com/news/local/here-s-a-list-of-decatur-stores-with-hours-for/article_91fa68fe-a799-56bd-b1ef-392b457fb789.html).
Honorably discharged veterans are eligible for $100 gift cards to assist with groceries, gas, and other necessities through Help 4 Heroes. For more information, contact the Veterans Assistance Commission of Macon County (217-424-1376).
INFORMATION FOR THOSE WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS
The Illinois Department of Employment Security has adopted emergency rules that allow unemployment benefits for some individuals who have lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (https://www2.illinois.gov/ides/Pages/default.aspx).
Effective May 11, workers who are self-employed, freelancers, or independent contractors can apply for pandemic unemployment assistance (https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20200405).
The city of Decatur issued a statement regarding the impact of the pandemic to Decatur businesses and employees. The statement includes links for expedited unemployment benefits and small business assistance (https://www.decaturil.gov/city-of-decatur-coronavirus-business-impact-update/).
The Decatur Regional Chamber of Commerce (https://www.decaturchamber.com/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/) and the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur & Macon County ((https://www.decaturedc.com/covid-19/) have comprehensive lists of resources for businesses impacted by the pandemic.
The State of Illinois has created a Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program (https://illinoistreasurer.gov/Invest_in_Illinois/Small_Business_COVID-19_Relief_Program).
CITY SERVICES AND GOVERNMENT
The city of Decatur has compiled a list of resources and is regularly publishing Community COVID-19 Updates. These update videos provide information on city services and any changes to city operations during the health emergency (https://insight.livestories.com/s/v2/city-of-decatur-il-covid-19-resources-page/9fe6808f-dd86-432d-aaab-1716c7e71e3e).
The city of Decatur continues to provide public services during the pandemic. Decatur City Hall and Civic Center are closed, and city business is encouraged to be conducted via phone or electronically (https://www.decaturil.gov/city-hall-civic-center-closed-to-the-public-starting-march-19-2020/).
Bus fares will not be collected during the pandemic. Riders will enter and exit buses using the rear side doors unless the lift mechanism at the front of the bus is required. Riders will be required to wear a mask on the bus beginning April 20.
The city has suspended all water service disconnections for non-payment through April 15, and implemented a waiver and suspension of late fees and penalties for water bills. In addition, Ameren has suspended service disconnections for non-payment and will forgive late fees for non-payment as described on the Ameren website (https://www.ameren.com/account/customer-service/covid-19).
Garbage haulers, Advanced Disposal and Waste Management, will not be picking up bulky items during the pandemic. Please hold on to those items for now. In addition, garbage bags are to be placed in a can with handles (April 3 video, https://insight.livestories.com/s/v2/city-of-decatur-il-covid-19-resources-page/9fe6808f-dd86-432d-aaab-1716c7e71e3e)
The city of Decatur is suspending enforcement of time limited parking in public parking lots, alleyways and streets in the downtown area through April 30 (http://www.nowdecatur.com/2020/03/30/city-of-decatur-suspends-downtown-parking-enforcement/). Citations will continue to be issued for parking illegally in areas such as no parking zones, handicapped zones, in front of hydrants, etc.
On March 23, the Mayor signed a proclamation and declaration of a public health emergency in Decatur. This will allow for prompt actions by the city to help Decatur citizens residents.
STATE, NATIONAL, AND GLOBAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
State-specific information about COVID-19 can be found on the state’s website (https://coronavirus.illinois.gov) and the state maintains the Illinois Novel Coronavirus Hotline to answer questions about the Coronavirus at 1-800-889-3931.
Comprehensive information about the Coronavirus including how to protect yourself and what to do if you think you are sick is provided by the CDC (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html).
The World Health Organization is an excellent resource for learning more about the impact of COVID-19 on a global scale (https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_1).
OTHER RESOURCES OF INTEREST
Recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in grocery stores is provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Page 3 provides recommendations for general public (https://www.iml.org/file.cfm?key=18476).
The state of Illinois has expanded the Child Care Assistance Program. This expansion will provide state assistance with child care for workers that are performing jobs deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic (Help at Home link, http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=123529).